NAITEOC: BPO Can Create 250,000 Jobs in 18 Months

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Emma Okonji

The Chairman, Nigeria Association of Information Technology Enabled Outsourcing Companies (NAITEOC), Mr. David Onu, has stressed the need for government and the private sector to support Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), insisting that the sector alone can generate as much as 250,000 jobs within a space of 18 months through domestic outsourcing.

Onu, who spoke at a recent BPO workshop organised by NAITEOC in Lagos, said aside generating several jobs from call centre operations in the telecommunications and financial sectors, among other sectors, BPO would boost Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), cut down on operating cost of companies and also enhance customer experience.
“By expanding call centre operations and moving them to expertise to manage outside the business of the company, more jobs will be created and it will lead to job efficiency and customer satisfaction.
BPO can increase efficiencies and return on investments,” Onu said.

Nigerian businesses for instance spend huge amount of money on foreign software when we have local software developers that can actually produce same software of international standard, yet many businesses in Nigeria prefer to patronise foreign software, and this a huge channel for loss of revenue to foreign countries. For instance, Nigeria spent over $10 billon (N3.8 trillion) on foreign technologies in 2015. If such monies were invested in local technologies in Nigeria, such amount of money will remain in Nigeria and boost our GDP, Onu added.

The Chief Investment Officer, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Mr. Daniel Awurum, who represented the CEO, NIPC, Ms. Yewande Sadiku, at the workshop, said: “BPO itself has the capacity to grow any economy, and there is need to support agencies like NAITEOC that is at the forefront of driving BPO in Nigeria.
Countries like India, China, US, South Africa, Ghana, Malaysia and Egypt are really catching up on the BPO to grow their economies, and Nigeria should not be left behind.”

According to Awurum, BPO remained a viable business area to explore, since it would create business opportunities and jobs for Nigerians and the Nigerian youths. We work closely with all agencies that are associated with BPO, in order to further grow BPO in Nigeria, he said, adding that NIPC is an agency of the federal government with mandate to coordinate, promote and encourage investments in Nigeria.

It is based on this mandate that the NIPC was able to engage over 80 BPO companies globally and the essence is to attract foreign businesses into Nigeria in order to grow the Nigerian GDP and boost the economy through local content development, Awurum said.

Onu who spoke about the need for government and the private sector participation in BPO activities in Nigeria, said NAITEOC has been engaging government on BPO matters and that government needed to address the issue fast.
Government must put a policy framework in place that will make BPO business to thrive. Indian, for instance, was able to come up with laws that protect businesses from different parts of the world, that are operating in Indian, because they needed to protect those companies that are coming into the country to do various businesses.
Again government needs to make broadband more available, accessible and affordable, the reason being that the BPO services heavily depend on communication and we need broadband to boost the communication via the internet, Onu said.

The private sector, according to him, still needs to do more to boost BPO in Nigeria. We should have local companies that play in the international space, patronising local operators. By the time this is achieved, foreign companies will be encouraged to also invest in the Nigerian BPO. India did it and today they are benefitting from it, Onu said.

In order to achieve full scale BPO in Nigeria, participants at the workshop called for review of the country’s policy on BPO, which they said, was long overdue for review, since the policy was enacted by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in 2001.
The National Investment Facilitation Consultant, GEMS3, Mr. Jumobi Fashola, said NITDA Policy on BPO has to be reviewed in order to grow BPO in Nigeria.

Nigeria has the potential to grow BPO in the country, given the data infrastructure on ground from Rack Centre, MainOne, Glo1, and other data centre operators, Fashola said.
Addressing the issue of policy review, Onu said: “NAITEOC is working with NITDA to review the outsourcing policy of 2001, in order to make the policy conform to today’s realities because a lot has happened in the technology space since the last 16 years when the policy was developed.